Help me with my recovery please!!

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Hi i am 16 year old girl and I'm recovering from anorexia. One and a half year ago i started "dieting" aka having anorexic behaviours and dropped to 44 kilos (I'm 5.2) and lost my period. I started "recovering", gained 2 kilos and got period back but just for one month cause then i relapsed and dropped to 42 kilos this time. I lost my period for 3 months and then my mum pushed me to recover. I still wasn't eating enough though (1300 calories)  and I didn't get my period back so she took me to the doctro, i got some medication and i got 1 period but then it stopped again. Now I've really started recovery and I can't stop eating!!!! I eat waayy more than 3000 calories a day and i binge sometimes..What scares me is that I wasn't that much underweight so idk if i need so many calories.. Also my belly has become huge and my face puffy. I also get hot rushes sometimes during the day  and I sometimes wake up in the morning sweaty (I'm not sure if this is nightsweats or not)

Ooh and this is Tmi but i go to the toilet like 2 times a day and i have diarrhea.. Sorry tmi :P can anyone explain all this to me? And how do i stop eating this. Much? Some times i get tired from eating and my belly feels sore even to touch.. And how do i know I've reached my setpoint? Sorry for posting so long bur I really need some help xxx

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi - thanks for posting. I can completely relate to your struggles, and I'm sure many other posters on this forum will have shared experiences.

    Firstly, do check out some of my other posts, because sometimes I will have articulated the same thing better at other points.

    Please note, all the information provided is based on the dietitic advice I've been given. I am not a qualified professional. Just in recovery from anorexia nervosa myself.

    You mentioned that having re-started eating, your weight "rapidly" gained 2kg. This is very normal. I imagine you felt very anxious, and an impulse to give up, and return to restrictive patterns of behaviour.

    There are several reasons for the 2kg gain. Firstly, this may have actually been linked to your time of the month. Your body retains more water during this time (mine for example retains so much that my weight shoots up 3kg). After my period is over it then goes back down again.

    Second, your weight "gain" could have been down to your body trying to repair itself. (I'll also talk about this in relation to the calorie consumption). Your body is rapidly trying to rebuild itself following starvation/restriction. It is fixing tissue, organ and so on so will cling onto as much energy as possible. If you were initially eating more calories than you were before, then at least some of that weight gain, could be your body trying to fix itself.

    Weight is incredibly hard to predict. How often are you weighing yourself for example? If you are weighing yourself daily, then this is not realistic to get a picture of what your weight actually is. At this stage I would consider trying to manage it weekly. In the long run, I would suggest only look reviewing it monthly. Your weight will fluctuate between 1-3kg at any given time. (As alluded to, it can be slightly higher at your time of the month, but it can also fluctuate at many other points, for all kinds of reasons, even mundane ones such as the air temperature being a bit drier, or you sweating less one night!) This means that even if you eat the exact same thing and drink the exact same thing every day, and even do the exact same routine every day, including weighing yourself the same way every day, your weight can and will still be different. (which is a horrible concept for us!)

    I don't know much about the digestive challenges you have noted, (you aren't taking laxatives are you? If so please try and stop these as they are so dangerous). The medication can cause varying side effects, including the sweating you described as well. Perhaps discuss with your doctor these symptoms including the diarrhea.

    Sometimes we have bowel troubles when returning to a more normal appetite too.

    I get bowel troubles around certain food groups, because my body is still getting used to eating these, due to having cut these out for so long. I also get increased bowel movements during my period, which I also think is my medication (which I take to stop me from being in agony!!). I would definitely speak to your doctor. One of the things to be mindful of if you are experiencing diarrhea lots is loss of vital minerals like potassium, so you may want to consider increasing nutrients such as bananas (high in potassium) and supplements which can replace lost salts.

    Calories! Yes, I get worried about eating too much too. This is why I started calorie counting via an app, and now I've got a bit stuck in a rut with it. So I wouldn't advise it at all. What it did prove to me is that where I thought I'd "binged" (i.e. for me eaten more than my meal plan, or what was safe for me), I'd still eaten less than the recommended daily allowance for a person my age. So sometimes we do catasrophise over these things. That said, when I was at secondary school, I did used to experience binges around the 3000 calorie mark and it's only recently I've understood why.

    I used to skip breakfast (because I thought that would make me lose weight). Get tempted by the vending machines at breaktime, skip lunch because of it and binge as soon as I got home. I'd eat dinner normally with my family because I didn't want them to know.

    Breakfast is vital to keeping your moods stable, but also keeps your weight low. You need carbs at each meal, otherwise your body tries to find energy in its most densist form (i.e. binge). I know it's hard, but if you can plan plan plan and try and make sure you have something small at each meal. I find oats so simple are amazing for breakfast but if that's too difficult to start off with, I tried putting oats into some of the big yoghurts (onken, rachels), then I find some of the soups with pulses can be great for lunch (like the Glorious range) because there is more substance to them. I started off buying some of the waitrose salads for dinner too to try and get me going with something more than soup in the evenings. Again, you have loads of beans in these, which if things like pasta and rice can be too ambitious this is a good stepping stone.

    I get fresh fruit delivered to my office, so I can have a banana as a snack and usually find snack bars a great snack mid-afternoon, or hummus and ryvita. Actually, all that I've mentioned still gives you room to add in more, as that's still under 2000 calories (depending on the combination of options).  

    One thing I would say is really focus on goals in recovery. Motivations, things you want to achieve that are not part of your eating disorder. Yes, I'm still in recovery (not's a long battle), but one of the reason's I'm doing so well this time round is because I'm exhausted by everything my eating disorder has controlled and all the things I've missed out on. I've cut holidays short because of my anorexia, I've missed out on social events, I'm constantly having to plan around social engagements due to my anorexia. I had to resign from a job because of it (indirectly). It's the things I can do, now I'm in recovery which reminds me how much I want to succeed fully. These motivations remind you just how much you want it on the day your weight goes up or you have a horrible day...not to let your eating disorder get the better of you.

    Hope that helps. Keep fighting.


    • Posted

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this! You really helped me !!  smile i will try and do my best to keep going and not being so tough on myself. Also no, I don't take laxatives and I'm not sure yet what's causing the diarrhea but I'll try to find out! I do always eat breakfast lunch and dinner and snacks but i still don't feel satisfied.. It's like my stomach has no bottom  :P  i guess i have to listen to my body
  • Posted

    Afrodite - from 27 years (now fully recovered) of food-obsessions (this is the title I would give to both anorexia, bulimia and over-eating habits)

    Please to take to your heart all that katlouise 1989 says in her reply. She gives a very clear and balanced view as well as insight and self-knowledge.. I couldn't have put it better myself lol

    There are a few things in your post that make me think that you are pushing yourself too hard or letting others push you quicker than what is comfortable to you.

    There will come a time when you will have to know your boundaries. Your body will re-learn how to communicate with your brain and only you can know when that is.

    You seem to have come a long and prescious way by accepting the meals that you are adviced to have. That is a big thing! Give yourself credit for this!

    Try imagine having a child, or even a pet, that is poorly. All you want is for that being to get better.. right? Puffy face, bloated stomach, painful tits.., shoes don't fit anymore.. (yes, all those things do happen but they happen in favour of your well-being and you being able to do whatever you set your mind to); You've got youth on your side (your tissues, skin, body, hair are well programmed to repair) so take it as a stretch of discomfort that will pass. ONce your tissues and inner organs (including the brain!) has taken all the nutritients it needs for basic functioning; you can use your will-power (which I believe is very strong - even if misdirected in the past) to introduce some gentle body-firming exercises. As long as you don't fall into the trap of exercising to burn every calorie you put in.

    Do you know that, in order to just keep your organs going without strain and stress - I mean sitting still not even moving an eyelid - you need at least 600 kcal per day. I don't think counting calories - unless it is to make sure you get enough - is a healthy way of going but this might be worth keeping in mind.

    Then there is always the question: Where did this come from and why?

    Remember: IT IS NOT ABOUT THE FOOD. Food-abuse in this way is an expression of something else.

    Personally, I had hours of hypnotherapy alongside specialised eating disorder group therapy and CBT plus the occasional spell of anti-depressive medication.

    I don't think I've could have conquered this without using all the alternatives combined, - but then one must bare in mind that times have changed in three decades. Nowadays, there is a lot more knowledge and understanding, as well as support groups.

    I would suggest - if you're not doing it already - to seak out local support groups. It is important to find face-to-face people who can share and take part of similar experiences.

    I wish you all the best and hope you can use all that control and power - ie energy.. move it to creativity and fruitful wants and dreams...

    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply! I will try and relax a bit smile it's difficult seeing my body changing so rapidly but I will do my best to keep going. wink
  • Posted

    Perhaps.. the emptiness you are trying to fill.. is not about food..? Of course, your body (AND mind) will take some time to get used to getting what it needs nutrition-wise.. but maybe there are other types of 'nutritients' that need to be fulfille. If you know and accept what those are.. I am sure you will find the peace and patience to wait for them to come without crutches and substitutes.

    Meanwhile; Try find something to distract yourself with. This is not easy. One cannot just turn on a tap saying 'distraction on', 'interest on'. Could you try this?:

    When you lie down in your bed tonight.. Could you make yourself really comfortable.. Put your arms and legs and head in a way that enables your body to relax.

    Can you then just feel how relaxed your body is capable of being?

    When you can do this.. can you think of a scenario - perhaps a film, some picture you have seen -  can you study that image within your mind and fall asleep with it.

    No worries if you can't but quite often something will happen as in dreams that are enlightning or dreams that are scary.. but don't be afraid of the scary dreams as they are only there for the sake of you communicating with you.

    This exercise also has a potential of lessening anxiety and of you feeling more comfortable within yourself.. which is what you will do when you allow yourself to listen and undersand you...

    I so wish you well!

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